Based on a frankly abysmal cult typical film of the same name, the best series that Joss Whedon has ever worked on kicks off at Sunnydale High School in 1997. Buffy (played by Sarah Michelle Gellar) has a rather gruesome mission to “slay” vampires and save the world as the chosen girl in a generation – in addition also manages to channel peak belly button fact and have some fun.
Watch it for the guts, the quick wit, the stunt doubles and the various leather-clad hunky male counterparts (Spike is the best, no question). Yes, at times it is silly and watching the Buffy-Angel love dynamic is a cringe-worthy angst experience as an adult – but the tragic and lonely parts of the series stand up to the test of time.
Star Trek: Picard
It could have been oh so very bad, but Star Trek: Picard is already a worthy and intriguing edition to the franchise. With Patrick Stewart reprising his role as Jean-Luc Picard there was a danger this would be a clunky trip down memory lane. Thankfully, it isn’t. Picard is almost a complete departure from The Next Generation. And that’s no bad thing. At its chief, this show is about rebellion, about fighting against strength and corruption. Cosmic capers with Q this most certainly is not. It’s a very 2020 take, but in Picard the future sucks. This perspective allows the show to analyze new complexities in the character of Picard and the fractious universe in which he lives. And it makes for powerful viewing for newcomers and diehards alike.
Where to begin with the Belchers? Bob flips burgers, his wife Linda wisecracks, Louise schemes, Gene pesters and Tina moans. It’s a formula and sometimes it gets blown up and sometimes it works. They’re a genuinely funny cartoon family to hang out with and while it’s not quite Bojack, there’s plenty here to competitor Netflix’s finest. We doubt you’ll binge it, as Bob’s Burgers works best as something that’s reassuringly just there as an option, but there’s nine seasons of 22 minute episodes included with chief.
Marvelous Mrs Maisel
What can a New York lady do when she finds out her husband is having an affair with his faint-witted secretary? If Mrs Maisel is anything to go by, the answer is to head to a grotty watering hole in your nightgown, do a bit of standup comedy, and get hauled away by the police after flashing the complete audience. Set in 1950s New York, this fast-talking fashionista hides her new life as a comedienne from her family and ex while battling sexism, bad crowds and big competition. Rachel Brosnahan stars as Midge Maisel in this subtle nod to Joan Rivers’ career.
Humanity now lives among the the stars – well, the rest of the solar system. A group of anti-idols are connected by the disappearance of a wealthy political activist and between them they must separate what happened to her. Adding to the complexity are the political tensions between Earth, Mars and the Belt. And that’s just season one, there are four series of The area obtainable on chief and each is packed with bold missions, space fights and Martian politics.
For fans of American mockumentaries, Modern Family is another to add on the ‘to watch’ list. There are eight series currently on chief following the lives of one big extended family living in suburban Los Angeles. There’s Michell and Cam, a gay combine with their adopted daughter Lily, the Dunphies with their trio of children, and Jay with his young wife Gloria and her son. Their family life is messy but hilarious as they get into scrapes every episode, breaking the fourth wall numerous times along the way.
If you’re a big fan of BoJack Horseman, you are going to love Undone, a similarly-acerbic animated series following familiar themes of mental illness from the same creators of the Netflix show. Undone follows 28-year-old Alma (played by Rosa Salazar), a woman stuck in the boring rhythm of life who feels utterly unfulfilled in her relationship with her boyfriend Sam (Siddharth Dhananjay). But after a near-fatal car crash, Alma finds her life physically begin to change – time is now non-linear, and Alma has the uncontrollable ability to travel back and forth in time. While it’s a fun genre-bending romp, what’s already more special about Undone, is that it’s the first ever TV series to use an animation style called rotoscoping for every single episode. Rotascoping is an animation method in which video is meticulously digitally traced over, creating something that looks both surreal and ultra-realistic. With splendid writing, acting and gorgeous visuals, Undone is well worth every second of your time.
In the world of The Boys, superheroes are big business. Venerated by the public and managed by a shady corporation who ensures they’re properly marketed and monetised, the ‘supes’ are more Instagram influencers on steroids than traditional superheroes. The Boys form to uncover and punish their corruption, led by the fanatical Bill Butcher – played brilliantly by Karl urban – who holds a serious grudge against the most powerful and unstable of all the idols, Homelander. It’s a darkly comic series with two seasons under its belt and a third on the way.
Justified is a much smarter show than its assumption indicates. Raylan Givens, played brilliantly by Timothy Olyphant, is an old-fashioned US Marshall and his methods get in him into trouble with both sides of the law. After one misstep too many, he’s reassigned to Kentucky and ends up working in the backwater town where he grew up. He’s soon investigating Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), an old friend from his youth, and the myriad of criminals in the area, his own father frequently among them. Consistently noticeable writing and a production line of charismatic villains make all six seasons worth a watch, especially the noticeable fourth.
Feeling battered and emotionally bruised by bleak TV dystopias and already bleaker world news? Good Omens is your shelter in the storm and inside it’s warm, cosy, camp and kind. Neil Gaiman has alternation his own 1990 book written with Terry Pratchett, which follows an angel (Michael Sheen) and a demon (David Tennant) trying to stop Armageddon. The six part series – a big release for Amazon – gives fans exactly what they dreamed of. The leads are a delight and all the additional material feels like surprise gifts instead of unwelcome, shoehorned in scenes. Silly stuff, then, with Cold War overtones, extreme whimsy and gruff British wit. Read our Good Omens review here – and watch this one before the recently announced second season lands.
The fate of Oceanic Airlines Flight 815 is doomed from the outset – and all seven seasons are obtainable by your chief membership. The survivors of the crashed flight confront a battle to stay alive. This begins with threats from within their own ranks to the island’s mysterious happenings, including: dangerous animals roaming the jungle, polar produces and its native inhabitants. Every episode is a cliff hanger and you won’t be able to look away.
The television adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods is an Amazon chief exclusive. Developed by Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, main protagonist Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) has been wandering the world empty of purpose since the death of his wife. That is until he meets Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane), who gives him a job as his bodyguard. From this point Shadow Moon’s eyes are opened to an America where magic is real and there’s a battle between the old and new Gods waging.
Filthy, foul and complete of heart, this modern romance is less about love than it is the moments that test it. While on a business trip to London, American alcoholic Rob Norris (Rob Delaney) knocks up Irish school teacher Sharon Morris (Sharon Horgan). He moves to the UK, and they attempt life together — something they fail at often across four seasons. Catastrophe veers between hilarious and painful, with Delaney’s gruff anger and Horgan’s bright viciousness tripping up their personal and specialized lives. Prepare to envy Horgan’s brutal one-liners as much as her wardrobe. Co-stars often steal the show, notably broken associate Ashley Jensen and Mark Bonnar, in addition as Carrie Fisher in her last television role.
The Night Manager
This six-part drama based on a novel by John Le Carre earns the accolade “all star cast”. Tom Hiddleston is in James Bond audition mode as a hotel manager who volunteers to take down Hugh Lawrie’s scheming arms dealer, Richard ‘Dickie’ Roper, while Olvia Coleman plays Hiddleton’s security service handler, Angela Burr, the moral centre of the story. All three won Global Globes for their performances and a second series is in the works.
You’ll know within the first episode if you’re into this slow, stylised mini series from Parks & Recreation/Master of None alums Alan Yang and Matt Hubbard. It’s part high concept TV, part uncomfortable marriage drama with a side helping of schtick from the two outrageously talented leads, Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen. It might make you impatient at times but Forever will stick with you once you’ve watched the finale.
Jess Day (Zooey Deschanel) finds out her long-term boyfriend has been cheating on her and after a bad break-up decides to move into a new flat. Neither her, Nick, Schmidt or Coach are prepared for what happens next. The three new flatmates help Jess get back on her feet before she teaches them a huge amount about the world outside of their pretty formulaic lives. New Girl is charming, humorous and easy to blitz by with episodes lasting just 20 minutes.
This modern LA noir crime drama is in its fourth season and has been recently renewed for a fifth. Starring Titus Welliver in the title role, it’s a compellingly grimy, cynical show with none of the gloss and ridiculous theatrics of NCIS and its ilk. It’s all about old-fashioned police work with plenty of political chicanery for good measure.
Each season deals with its own big case, but there’s an overarching one as Bosch investigates a cold case: the murder of his mother when he was a child. Bosch doesn’t set out to redefine crime dramas, but it’s paced perfectly for a good old binge as the threads of each case come together. It’s superior crime drama that any fan of the genre will enjoy.
Parks and Recreation
All seven seasons and 125 episodes of Greg Daniels and Michael Schur’s hit show are obtainable on Now TV. The show is set in the fictional US town of Pawnee and sees them mid-level city bureaucrats for the Parks vision attempt to deal with local politics. The series isn’t thoroughly fictional, with a heavy does of realistic satire and mimicking of the world’s financial crisis. And that’s all before you’re already introduced to Ron Swanson.
Sneaky Pete is back for a second season after the first was met with rave reviews (we’re talking 100 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes). Just released from prison, Marius (Giovanni Ribisi) steals the identity of his former cellmate Pete Murphy in order to hide from the dangers of his old life. On the run from a vicious debtor played by Bryan Cranston (who also jointly produced the show), Marius nestles into Pete’s motley crew of estranged family, who are delighted to be reunited with their long-lost relative – and enters waters just as shark-infested as those from which he’s come.
The Emmy award-winning thriller returns for season three, and just keeps getting better. Rami Malek’s turn as Elliot Alderson, an isolationist cyber-security expert turned vigilante hacktivist, provides a unprotected confront to a subject that’s largely impenetrable to many viewers, while the corrupt organisations and faceless corporations his hacker collective targets make for applicable current villains. Not just one of the most accurate hacking shows ever, but an exceptional television series in all senses. The third season finds Alderson’s life on the line after being caught up in the actions of Chinese hacker group Dark Army, and the fourth and final season maintains the show’s high quality.
Mozart in the Jungle
A comedy-drama documenting the strange world of specialized orchestra musicians in New York, Mozart in the Jungle is a strange beast. The series follows Hailey Rutledge (Lola Kirke), an aspiring oboist trying to build a career with the New York Symphony, and her conflicted relationship with eccentric conductor Rodrigo De Souza (Gael García Bernal). With a strong creative team and real-world source material in the form of specialized oboist Blair Tindall’s memoir Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music, the powerful and frequently hilarious show has picked up Golden Globes and Emmy awards, and proven itself one of Amazon’s best exclusives.
In the mid ’80s, college student and struggling filmmaker David Myers (Craig Roberts) wants one last, great summer before adulthood beckons. Unfortunately, he’s stuck working at a pretentious country club and struggling to gain momentum in his life. Big dreams of making it in the film industry meet crushing reality as David navigates the club’s eccentric guests and their demands – from awkward wedding shoots to filming sex tapes for swingers clubs – while also struggling to continue his relationship with girlfriend Skye. All three seasons of this delightful period comedy are obtainable now.
This Amazon Original sees the studio getting a bit meta. Framed as a “lost” Romanian cop show from 1983 that “promoted Communist ideals and inspired a thorough nationalism”, this action-comedy has the eastern European actors dubbed over – deliberately awfully – by the likes of Channing Tatum, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Parks and Recreation’s Nick Offerman. Combining retro crime-stopping stunts with a cultural mis-match, this is Amazon’s newest and strangest comedy.
Inspired by the real-life Viking hero and ruler Ragnar Lodbrok, Vikings is a family saga exploring the lives, epic adventures, and cultural politics of the raiders and explorers of the Dark Ages. Five seasons of the historically-inspired action series are obtainable on Amazon chief Video. The most recent season stars WWE wrester Adam ‘Edge’ Copeland and sees the story expand to a civil war in Norway, battles in England against the Nordic invaders, and exploration of northern Africa.
Entertaining well past Halloween, this anthology series presents “the frightening and often disturbing tales based on real people and events that have led to our modern-day myths and legends”. Based on the award winning podcast of the same name, there are two seasons of six episodes exploring real-world horror stories is obtainable to chill your bones now.
One of the world’s strangest superheroes, Ben Edlund’s The Tick debuted in indie comics form in 1986, before gaining wider popularity thanks to a 1994 animated series. Now due for his second live action adaptation (the first aired for one season in 2001, and is also obtainable on Amazon chief Video), this take sees Peter Serafinowicz as the big, blue lover of justice – who may just be an escaped psychiatric patient with uncommon durability. A graduate of Amazon’s pilot season program, the complete show is a delightful tonic to the dark and serious output of surprise on Netflix.
A time travel romance drama based on the novels of Diana Gabaldon and developed by Battlestar Galactica’s Ronald D. Moore, this sees Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall – a married nurse living at the end of World War II, who is mystically transported back to 1743 Scotland. Despite her husband in her relative present, she falls for Highland warrior Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan), becoming caught up in an effort to change history and avid the Battle of Culloden. Informed by real-world history and tinged with fantasy, each season adapts one of Gabaldon’s hugely popular books – we’re up to season five.
Click: See details